The Cardinal birds belong to the family Cardinalidae. This family contains passerine birds that are most commonly reside in the regions of North and South America. Northern Cardinal bird is considered as an official bird of seven American states.
This bird is a very beautiful creature with sweet melodious voice wandering in the regions of Northern American states.
Here is the complete biography of The Northern Cardinal bird. this article includes all the interesting information regarding Northern Cardinal that you surely wanted to KNOW!
What will I learn?
- 1 Northern Cardinal Bird – A Sign of Luck
- 1.1 Identification of Northern Cardinal Bird:
- 1.2 Habitat of The Northern Cardinal Bird:
- 1.3 The Feed of the Northern Cardinal Bird:
- 1.4 Reproduction:
- 1.5 Eggs:
- 1.6 Young Ones:
- 1.7 Expected lifespan:
- 1.8 Songs and Calls:
- 1.9 Alarms Calls of Northern Cardinal bird:
- 1.10 Winter behavior of Cardinal Bird:
- 1.11 Predators:
- 1.12 Impact of Humans:
- 1.13 A Sign of Luck:
- 2 Conclusion:
Northern Cardinal Bird – A Sign of Luck
North cardinal bird is one of the common birds of genus Cardinalis. It is one of the three cardinal species in the genus Cardinalis. The Northern cardinal bird or Northern state bird is scientifically known as Cardinalis cardinalis. The common name of this bird includes red bird, common cardinal, or simply cardinal. There are also 19 sub-species of this bird.
Identification of Northern Cardinal Bird:
These birds are medium-sized songbirds with a long tail. It has a beautiful crest on its head and exhibits a short, thick red beak. These birds are 30-14 grams in weight and 21-23 cm long. The wingspan of this songbird ranges from 25-30 cm.
Males are bright red with a dark black mask around the eyes and red beak.
The female northern cardinal bird is pale brown with reddish spots on the wings. They have the same color pattern of beak and eyes like males but light in color.
Although both the sexes exhibit bright-colored crests. Beaks are also the same in color among male and female are very strong.
The plumage color is due to the carotenoid pigmentation. Male cardinal birds metabolize this pigment to get a color different from another gender. If this male cardinal ingests the carotenoid pigment its color will change to pale red.
Young Cardinal Bird:
Young cardinals look like a female bird until the winter season. After that, they molt and grow new skin that matures according to their gender. Young ones are brown from the top and reddish-brown from the below side. They have a brick red color crest, wings, and tails.
Habitat of The Northern Cardinal Bird:
The Northern Cardinal bird is found abundantly across the United States eastern region. It ranges from Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala, Maine Minnesota to Hawaii, California, and Arizona.
Its natural habitat includes woodland, gardens, wetlands, Shrublands, suburban areas, thickets, brushy areas, swamps, city parks, deserts, streamside, and in the forest clearing. These birds are distributed over a large area of land.
It has also sometimes, extend its way towards the north to spend their winters and brighten up the days with its beautiful, sweet voice and color.
The Feed of the Northern Cardinal Bird:
The food of cardinal birds includes majorly fruits, weed seeds, and grains. It is a bird of ground that feeds by hopping and walking on to the ground. the redbird rarely flies high on trees to get food. It also feeds on insects that may include grasshopper, snails, and beetles. parents feed their young ones mainly on insects.
The diet of this bird also consists of bark of trees especially elm trees, seeds of sunflower, and corn. This shows that cardinals have a variety of food items to fulfill their hunger requirements.
Cardinal birds do not necessarily form monogamous pairs. They usually leave the partner after a year or some time or when the partner dies. It was often sing-song before nesting and mating.
During courtship, both partners elevate heads high, sway back and forth and sing softly. They also show a bonding behavior by helping each other. For example, a male partner collects food for the female and also feeds her. It also helps her to build the nest.
The nest is cup-shaped and is made up of three layers that include coarse twigs, leafy material, roots, stems, and pine needles. This nest building is done between 3-9 days.
These songbirds lay 2-5 eggs. Their eggs are white, greenish-white, or pale blue and have brown, gray, and purple marks on them. They brood 2 or 3 times a year or sometime 4. Female partners take care of these and incubate them for 12 to 13 days. After that young ones are ready to be welcomed in the world.
The baby cardinals after hatching are looked after by both the parents. The male feed their nestling and female prepares for the next brood. Their feed majorly consists of insects. Nestling fledges after 10 to 12 days of hatching.
It is observed that the average life span of cardinal bird is 15 years and when kept in captivity it was 29 years. But the average survival rate of this bird is 60-65%. If the mortality rate of young ones is high, their life expectancy can reach only 1 year.
Songs and Calls:
The cardinal birds is a sweet songbird singing around its territory. Usually, the cardinal bird sing in a loud and clear voice on top of a tree to defend and mark his territory. It also flights persistently to the invaders that try to enter their territory. They chase them and fight them out of their area. The cardinal also may mistakenly flight with its reflection thinking that it is some kind of invader.
Moreover, the northern cardinal has its songs, and cardinals migrating to other regions develop their songs. So they may sing a song that differs regionally.
Alarms Calls of Northern Cardinal bird:
Also, the northern cardinal has a very distinctive and sharp alarm call that warns against an invader or predator. This sound is a metallic Chip sound and the shrillness and frequency of this alarming increase with the threat. Greater the greater will be the alarming sound.
Both male and female cardinal has a clear sharp distinctive sound like “whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit”, “what-cheer, what-cheer… wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet.
Although the calls from males and females are not distinct by the human ear. This is because of sexual dimorphism. This may be because of differences in levels of hormones.
Winter behavior of Cardinal Bird:
Cardinals do not specifically migrate to other areas in winters. They use their feathers and fluff them up in winters to stop heat loss and winter wind reaching them. The down feathers are small and hair like and legs and feet have no hairs. So in winters, they tuck their one leg up into the feathers to stop any heat loss.
In this way, they successfully keep themselves warm and spend their winter. Moreover, they find many bird feeders around them so they do not have to fly far away to get food.
Northern Cardinal bird is very prone to a large number of predators. These birds are small in size and are abundant in the North American Region. Therefore, they are easy to prey on. The predators that feed on adult birds include several species of owls, hawks, large falcons, bald eagle, and golden eagle.
Animals that prey on their eggs and young ones include snakes, reptiles, blue jay, cats, crows, squirrels, and chipmunks.
Impact of Humans:
These birds are so friendly and so is the human behavior towards them. America is the home to this species so it is present all around in the city easily. Humans have inserted feeder poles to attract them not to harm them but as a sign of love. They provide weed seeds and sunflower seeds in their small gardens and park to these birds. The birds come there and feed themselves.
This gesture has been very beneficial to the cardinal birds that their population does not seem to be affected at all. Therefore it is considered as a species of least concern according to the IUCN red list.
This species has an estimated population of 10 million and its range spread over 5,800,000 km2 and 2,200,000 square miles. According to these estimates, this bird is stable and is not threatened.
Although there must be a decrease of 30% of the population in a decade that will make this species threatened.
A Sign of Luck:
Moreover cardinal bird or northern cardinal or simply cardinal is a good luck charm for Americans, especially for the athletic teams. Such teams have used the portrait of the bird on their flag with slightly different colors.
For example in professional sports, it is the symbol of Major League Baseball and the National Football League.
Cardinal birds are no doubt one of the most beautiful creatures of nature. Their color there calls and behavior is quite astounding. One of the best things about these birds is a fact that they are present abundantly over a large area.
One can easily spot this bird around a park or a small lawn around his/her house. Watching a cardinal eating seed in your garden is simply so satisfying especially for a bird watcher.
So, if you plan to watch birds do not forget to place some sunflower seeds for the northern cardinals and also do not forget to comment on how the sight was.
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